Thanks to Marc Morano for sending me the National Geographic article ‘Mars, Like Earth, Has Cyclical Ice Ages, Study Says’ relating to a new nature paper entitled ‘Dynamics of ice ages on Mars.’
Mars has gone through 40 ice ages during the past five million years that regularly send the planet’s permanent ice sheets cascading toward the equator, then melting backward, a new theory suggests.
The climate changes are likely driven by cyclical fluctuations in the planet’s orbit that alter the amount of sunlight that falls on the planet’s surface, says astronomer Norbert Schörghofer of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Understanding the sun’s exact role in the Martian ice ages could help solve longstanding puzzles about the red planet.
It could also help scientists better understand Earth’s complex climatic systems, which are also affected by orbital variations.